SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - Albert Pujols thinks he was snubbed.
The St. Louis Cardinals’ slugger is upset he lost out to Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard for the National League MVP award, saying Wednesday the honor should go to someone on a playoff team.
“I see it this way: Someone who doesn’t take his team to the playoffs doesn’t deserve to win the MVP,” Pujols said in Spanish at a news conference organized by the Dominican Republic’s sports ministry.
Pujols led the Cardinals to the NL Central title this year and their first World Series championship since 1982. Howard and the Phillies missed the playoffs — though they won two more regular-season games than St. Louis did.
The Dominican-born Pujols batted .331 with 49 home runs and 137 RBIs, while Howard hit .313 with 58 homers and 149 RBIs.
Howard got 20 first-place votes for MVP and 388 points in balloting by a panel of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Pujols received 12 first-place votes and 347 points. Voting is conducted before the postseason.
Pujols, the 2005 NL MVP, said he has bigger dreams — a spot in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. The BBWAA also votes for the Hall of Fame.
“It is still early but it is a dream I have,” Pujols said. “My hope is that in good time I will have sufficient numbers to get to Cooperstown.”
Pujols praised several moves the Cardinals have made this offseason, including signing second baseman Adam Kennedy and pitcher Kip Wells. The slugger noted that his club had been hoping to land fellow Dominican star Alfonso Soriano, who instead agreed to a $136 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.
“I thought we were going to sign Soriano, but it wasn’t possible. We also intended to trade for him during the season, but the Nationals wanted too much for him,” Pujols said.
HBT: Carlos Ruiz was lifted from Sunday afternoon’s game against the Reds after straining his right hamstring while running the bases in the bottom of the second inning.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.